Characterizing neuroanatomical markers of different stages of schizophrenia (SZ) to assess pathophysiological models of how the disorder develops is an important target for the clinical practice. We performed a meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometry studies of genetic and clinical high-risk subjects (g-/c-HR), recently diagnosed (RDSZ) and chronic SZ patients (ChSZ). We quantified gray matter (GM) changes associated with these four conditions and compared them with contrast and conjunctional data. We performed the behavioral analysis and networks decomposition of alterations to obtain their functional characterization. Results reveal a cortical-subcortical, left-to-right homotopic progression of GM loss. The right anterior cingulate is the only altered region found altered among c-HR, RDSZ and ChSZ. Contrast analyses show left-lateralized insular, amygdalar and parahippocampal GM reduction in RDSZ, which appears bilateral in ChSZ. Functional decomposition shows involvement of the salience network, with an enlargement of the sensorimotor network in RDSZ and the thalamus-basal nuclei network in ChSZ. These findings support the current neuroprogressive models of SZ and integrate this deterioration with the clinical evolution of the disease.
Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Behavioral analysis; Coordinate-based meta-analysis; Psychosis; Salience network; Schizophrenia; Signed differential mapping; Ultra-high risk; Voxel-based morphometry.
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